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Old 07-02-2012, 02:30 AM   #1
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Honda preparing Dakar assault



Honda to participate in the 2013 Dakar Rally

Honda has announced its intention to participate as a works team in the motorcycle class of the Dakar Rally to be held in January 2013 in South America, travelling north to south through Peru, Chile and Argentina.

Honda competed nine times in the motorcycle class in the forerunner of the present Dakar Rally, the Paris-Dakar Rally, from 1981 through to 1989, and was a winner five times during that period. It has been 23 years since it last participated in the Rally.

The Honda team, to be called Team HRC, will include Portuguese rider Helder Rodrigues, who took third place in the 2012 Dakar Rally, Brazilian Felipe Zanol, who brings a wealth of experience in motocross and enduro race events, as well as Sam Sunderland (United Kingdom) and Javier Pizzolito (Argentina).

They will ride a prototype machine developed and produced by the Motorcycle R&D Center at Honda R&D. The prototype machine is based on the CRF450X, the popular worldwide enduro racing model that combines ease of handling with superior competitive strength. Kit parts designed for use on the standard CRF450X model have also been developed and will be supplied to a limited number of teams.

Tetsuo Suzuki, Senior Managing Officer and Director, Chief Operating Officer, Motorcycle R&D Center, Honda R&D Co., Ltd. Commented: “The Dakar requires competitors to cover several hundred kilometers per day for more than two weeks. It needs a totally different type of vehicle from events such as motocross, trials and road races. Honda has put a great deal of effort into designing and building a powerful and winning machine. We are aiming for the championship from this first year.”
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Old 07-02-2012, 02:40 AM   #2
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Damn, you beat me to it!
Here the link from Honda: http://world.honda.com/news/2012/c12...ex.html?from=r

I'm a bit stunned to hear Hélder leaving Yamaha for Honda, though
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Old 07-02-2012, 04:36 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by schattat View Post
I'm a bit stunned to hear Hélder leaving Yamaha for Honda, though
Really...?

Helder has been plugging away with his DIY/Yamaha effort now for a number of years, and making great results... while the "official" YME/YMF outfit continued to do their own thing year after year, with no great degree of sucess...

Then HONDA comes to the table with the offer of a (reputedly) full blow HRC effort for the next Dakar, and ask Helder if he wants a seat...?

On the strength of his recent FIM Cross Country Rally world title and Dakar podiums... it's not surprising he got asked... and if I was in Helders position, I'd be all over the HRC offer like a fat kid on a jelly donut!
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Old 07-02-2012, 02:48 AM   #4
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HRC? Holy crap things just got serious!

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Old 07-02-2012, 03:57 AM   #5
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Could this be the attack of the HRC Clones...???

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Originally Posted by Brodovitch View Post
HRC? Holy crap things just got serious!

Uh-huh...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=im_5Q...eature=related

Wow... when HRC come to play... they (traditionally) only play to win... no dress rehearsals or warm ups... When you see those three initials, it means business.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IUH3JQjcweM


I wonder what this means for all of the (previous) Honda Europe, GHR, MecaSystems and other (semi-private) Honda affilliated Dakar efforts we've seen before...?
Have they all just collectively been "B-teamed"...???

It will be super-interesting to see more details/developments of this HRC effort as the months unfold...
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troy safari carpente screwed with this post 07-02-2012 at 04:05 AM
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Old 07-02-2012, 08:45 AM   #6
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Thumb This will (hopefully) be a good one!

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Originally Posted by troy safari carpente View Post
It will be super-interesting to see more details/developments of this HRC effort as the months unfold...




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Old 07-02-2012, 03:03 AM   #7
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Well that should liven things up a bit.
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Old 07-02-2012, 03:27 AM   #8
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So who gets to be whom's water-carrier?
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Old 07-02-2012, 08:01 AM   #9
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These are fantastic news!!!

If HRC is serious about Dakar (and they usually mean business), this could be Helder's best chance ever.
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Old 07-02-2012, 02:57 PM   #10
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If HRC is serious about Dakar (and they usually mean business), this could be Helder's best chance ever.
Amen for that, brother Carlos!
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Old 07-02-2012, 11:24 PM   #11
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Personally I found the Arcarons (I think?) HM project to look the business...

but knowing Honda corporate thinking I think anything but full 100% new Honda stuff will be off the drawing board,
it's in their DNA, and a matter of corporate pride to the japanese. Which isn't exactly a good thing

Marcel Vermeij (of rallymaniacs.nl) and Tony both mentioned that the team will be run through a Dutch set-up who I assume have a lot of Dakar experience, so maybe HRC takes care of the motor/suspension and then the set-up is left
to the Dutch Dakar veterans.

Again, from what I have read/know on HRC, that may be a testy relationship. Unless there is some behind-the-curtains recruiting going on, especially pilfering staff from the orange camp
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Old 07-02-2012, 11:49 PM   #12
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Your gut feelings mimic very much what I am thinking Brodo... It wouldn't surprise to see that they come from the drawing boards with a new 100% original (at least bodywork/cosmetical) design... that reflects the HONDA corporate image, and not borrow from what the others have done before.

Interesting subject that you touched on concerning personel/management of the team. I wouldn't think that the only "recruiting" HRC is doing at the moment, is soley on the riding staff side of things.

But it surprises me - as you mention - of the reported claim that the HRC effort will be run "through" another team (Dutch or otherwise). That broadly describes the way in which the various Honda.Europe (Spanish, Dutch, HM/Arcarons etc.) satellite efforts of the last few years have been set up, with varying degrees of support from the mother corporation.

But if history is anything to go by... when the HRC initials are put into play... that means 100% Japanese funding/control. That is not to say that they wouldn't recruit experienced team management and logistics/mechanic support personel from (one of) these established teams and put them on the payroll... But as far as where the buck stops, (if MotoGP/500cc history is anything to go by), the big decisions would be coming fairly and squarely; directly from the land of the rising sun - one would imagine...

So I agree entirely with the last line you wrote (above); it should make for some interesting "back room negotiations" between now and January 2013...
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Old 07-03-2012, 12:11 AM   #13
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From what i have heard, Henk Hellegers expected to run the team and built the bikes (with japanese parts, help).

This now seems to have scaled back(or up?) into the Japanese building the bikes and Henk's team sharing experiences and looking after the day to day operatios of running a team.

Not what Henk had hoped for, so i guess this does mean the Japanese cleary have plans and an owner of the project inside HRC. Totally different setup compared to Ten Kate, who seem to do most work indoors with Honda providing not much more then the sponsor Euros..
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Old 07-03-2012, 12:40 AM   #14
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So it looks closer to that old Africa Twin Marathon project, where the bikes were devolped by HRC starting from the standard model and the Team was mainly managed by Honda France (Bernard Rigoni etc). Main difference this is not a "Marathon" bike so they will have more freedom in changing anything, from engine to frame and plastics...
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Old 07-03-2012, 02:49 AM   #15
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When do bikes leave Le Havre, late October? Less than 4 months to develop something new and test it.....my money is on the using a mostly existing kit. Maybe 2014 have something new and unique. Just a guess but one that seems logical.
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